Six Reasons I Hate Calorie Counting and Don’t Do It

shutterstock_81459505 (Small)When I changed my diet to eating whole, plant-based foods, I said goodbye to calorie counting forever. By eating 60-80% raw, 95% whole, plant-based foods, I don’t need to count calories. I don’t think it’s a complete waste, my years of obsession with calories when I was young. Because it’s helpful to know what the foods are, that are very high in food energy but low in nutrition.

In all fairness, I’ll say that to get obesity under control, you could do WORSE than counting and restricting calories, for a period of time. It’s certainly better than doing nothing.

However, counting calories as a long-term approach to health doesn’t work. Here’s why:

  1. It’s unsustainable. Nobody does it long-term. Because it’s boring, tedious, and restrictive. It also leads to an unhealthy way of looking at food, creating fear through measurement.
  1. It has a tendency to cause you to eat packaged foods, which are almost always processed. Those are the foods that have calories marked on them. It’s a head game, though. They’re packaging small portions, or using fake foods to lower calories or fat. In fact, this can be self-defeating. Because the lowest calorie, highest-nutrition foods don’t come in packages at all.
  1. You can’t nail down how many calories you actually need, and software predictions of how many you need are inaccurate. Some days it’s many hundreds of calories higher than other days, depending on how many hours you were awake, or how much physical activity you did. I believe assigning a rigid number to any given day leads calorie-counters to feel shame, which affects their natural enjoyment for food and some their decision-making freedom.

What if your calorie-counting software says you can have only 1600 calories, so you TRY for that number. But unbeknownst to your software, you actually had a high caloric-needs day and THAT’S why you were so hungry and thus you “screwed up” and ate “too much?”

  1. Calorie counts on charts are inaccurate. A variety of factors affect how many calories are in any given piece of food, and there’s much you don’t know about the supply chain and the ingredients. You don’t know how much your chicken breast weighs. And if you’re actually WEIGHING it, well, my Reason #1 applies, above.

(Sometimes we have to ask ourselves if the insanities of the modern age just breed more insanities. Can you imagine cavemen counting calories? The whole outrage is simply an outgrowth of the processed food diet. If we eliminate processed food, we don’t have to invent silly counting programs.)

  1. “A calorie is a calorie is a calorie” is a lie! The Oxford-Cornell China Project is the biggest nutrition study in history. Studying 6,500 people in 65 counties of China, the researchers learned that plant eaters can eat 200 calories a day more than meat eaters, and stay thin!

high fiber foodsIt turns out, the body doesn’t even absorb all of the calories in foods high in fiber. That’s your greens, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. (The ones I’ve been teaching you to eat more of!) If your friend ate 500 calories less than you, but it was Skittles and a white-bread ham sandwich, but you actually ate more calories in that meal, but it was whole, raw, plant foods, you’re still the winner. Not only in your overall health, aging, and energy—but very possibly in weight maintenance as well!

  1. Counting calories creates a bunny trail, potentially keeping you ironically further from good health. People do programs like Weight Watchers, where junk food is totally endorsed, and all food is equal, but is just assigned points. I’d rather have you focus on eliminating or minimizing refined sugars, and not eating foods containing neurotoxins, and absolutely minimizing refined salt in the diet. All of these have a dramatic, documented effect on weight.

My conclusion? Profit industries won’t support this way of thinking:

But I’d rather maximize nutrient dense foods. Greens, vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I’d rather avoiding processed and animal foods. This matters far more than counting calories.

Are you a “stress eater?” Here’s what I do about it!

stress eatingHave you noticed that most people line up in two camps, when they’re under heavy stress: the people who don’t eat enough, and the people who overeat?

Nikki, our operations manager, asked me recently to write on stress eating. She’s in the hot-seat in a major new venture we’re working on, and both she and I have been under considerable stress.

So I agreed—it’s an important topic.

I probably can handle more stressors than the average person and seem to thrive in a space of 95-99% capacity and a significant amount of pressure. But there’s always a “too much,” and I’m pretty sure every human being on the planet has gotten into that “red zone.” When I reach that threshold, with stress, where I tip over into “I’m not happy, and I’m not coping well,” my reaction is to NOT eat much.

The reason is, I’m not enjoying the food anyway, since my stomach is tied in knots! So I eat functionally. In these periods of my life, I eat the healthiest. The only food I eat is just to meet caloric needs, so it’s vegetable juices and green smoothies and the like. I usually drop several pounds below my normal weight.

(In periods of my life when I was overweight, it was because I was bored and NOT stressed! A mixed blessing.)

You may be very different than this. I’d love to know what you do, to check yourself, from eating bad foods just because you’re stressed out?

The most helpful thing I’ve come across is a book on “mindful eating” I read many years ago. I think it was called Intuitive Eating. And I didn’t finish it, because it was one of the those books where, 50 pages in, I was like, “Yeah, I got it. I don’t need to read the whole book.”

But the authors taught a method of checking in with yourself. Getting very purposeful about eating. In other words, stopping every few bites to ask yourself a few questions:

“Am I hungry?”

“Do I really want this?”

“Why am I eating right now?” If the answer is not “because I’m hungry,” then ask yourself, “Am I feeling emotional right now and eating to make those feelings go away? If so, is there something else I could be doing to help myself out of this situation?”

It’s important to always stay “in choice,” giving yourself permission to eat whatever you want. That way, when you opt out, you can do it with your chin up:

“I can if I want to, but I choose not to!”

Then it feels like living a purposeful life, rather than denying yourself. Repeatedly denying oneself generally leads to binging later, creating a cycle of sabotage.

Then, if you’re not sure if you are hungry and REALLY want more, wait five minutes to see if you have another serving, or whether you choose the dessert.

Almost every time I require myself to wait five minutes, at the end of it, I don’t even want the dessert, or to eat more of the food.

The book reminded us to plug into the fact that satiety, or the feeling of being “satisfied,” comes 5 or 10 minutes after you stop eating. So, let it catch up. Stop eating sooner, and check in with yourself. If you wait, giving yourself permission to have more in 5 minutes if you still want to, you’ll end up eating less.

Now these ideas aren’t mine, nor are they about choosing whole foods, which is my biggest agenda. (The authors’ premise is, there are no bad foods, but you have to eat them only minimally. I disagree with that, of course. I think living in the “real world,” we all eat things that aren’t good for us, to a greater or lesser extent, but there are certainly bad foods!)

Until reading that book, I was not very mindful about my eating. Now I stop and check myself more regularly. I also try to not eat anything while working at my computer, unless it’s something super-healthy like my quart of green smoothie. If I eat at my computer, I’ll overeat, being consumed in the email I’m writing or topic I’m researching! Suddenly I’ll notice I ate twice as much as I intended to! (I learned this one the hard way.)

The “mindful eating” principles are good, and they’ve helped me significantly. Consequently, my weight is in check and my health is better.

Supply Side Expo: my reactions to ingredients in “health food” products

Supplyside2012_west_exhibitorI went to Supply Side West in Vegas in November. It was the same night that my family, the Romney clan, was SUPPOSED to be having a Mitt Romney victory party at the Venetian. That’s where I was staying and where the trade show was being held. As you know, the party didn’t exactly work out. My parents and siblings were in town volunteering on the campaign last-minute.

I was attending the show to learn more about suppliers of natural-product ingredients. Specifically the things that GreenSmoothieGirl is now making:

Our own line of protein powders. My favorite minerals product I call Ultimate Minerals. Sprouted superfoods to add to your smoothies. Our drink mixes.

I left educated about, and dismayed by, what goes into 99 percent of products being sold to consumers. Even stuff flying under the banners of “healthy” or “natural.” What’s done to a natural “food” to get it into a pourable, packageable form.

dance bananaThere are complex processes to mill a food, deodorize it, purify it, “mask” tastes (like any bitterness), enhance “mouth feel,” prevent caking, improve pourability and viscosity, change the color, make it sparkle, twirl, and sing an aria.

All of these require chemicals, processes, heat, altered states.

The more standardized our tastes become, the more processed our food supply becomes. And vice versa. It’s the classic “vicious cycle.”

I wanted to talk to less than 1 percent of the companies there. Companies bragging about their “pharmaceutical-grade purity.” The fact that it has “pharmaceutical” in the title just makes me wonder if a drug company owns it. Did you know that drug companies own more than 70 percent of the vitamins on the market? So it’s sterile and standardized (pharmaceutical grade). But is it good for me?

cornyrxI want my food to be…..FOOD. Out of the dirt. Where tiny organisms live that give us Vitamin B12. Food with fiber. Food that fed my ancestors.

Seeing what processed food looks like from a manufacturer’s view, made me that much more committed to eating real, whole foods.

Down the hall from the Supply Side convention, the Burger King convention was sponsored by Pepsi and Del Monte. An incestuous relationship of fast food and processed food industries.

A guy on the elevator with me in the Venetian struck up a conversation and told me he was a BK franchise owner. I confessed I’d never eaten at BK in my life. He said, “WHAT?” Just to make it simple, I said, “Well, I’m a vegetarian, not my thing.” He invited me to come on in for their veggie burger.

It’s a start, Burger King offering a vegetarian sandwich. Too bad I don’t even have to try one to know that everything ELSE about it will be bad. Don’t fall for the idea that “vegetarian” means “good for you. Here’s what I predict: lots of preservatives, white-flour hybridized wheat bun, bad fats in the goo they put on it, lots of refined salt, maybe even some GMO soy product as the “meat” replacement.

Maybe someone reading this will chime in telling me if I nailed that guess? I have other research I want to do, more than finding something edible on the Burger King menu.

grow_your_own_article_A1More than ever, after spending a day looking at food manufacturing…..I want to grow and make my own food! And never have anything on this site that is less than outstanding.

I fantasize about being stranded on a desert island with……

I was sitting at a table at Supply Side West in Las Vegas last month, thumb-typing emails on my Blackberry. I’d gone there to learn about more sourcing options for our new GreenSmoothieGirl line of products.

Everyone was eating lunch, and seats were limited, so I sat with strangers.

bad diet guy Pizza Guy looked as if he’d spent a lifetime of eating pizza like the one he was working on. What does that look like? Inflammation shows up as puffy dark bags under his eyes, he’s carrying extra weight, and he has saggy jowls.

Burger and Soda guy looked…..about the same.

salad absThen Salad and Fruit Bowl Guy came over. Well HELLO. In his 50’s, about the age of Pizza Guy and Burger Guy. Salad Guy was fit, thin, and energetic, radiating positive energy in his conversation with a colleague.

I wish I could have taken a photo for you. I wanted to. It was like those photos of dogs with their owners: see how they look alike?

But that would have been so rude. (How does PeopleOfWalmart.com get away with it? Questions like this keep me up at night.)

waistlineSomeone should show all the 25-year old men age-progression photos. Here’s what you look like eating that for the next 20 years. Here’s what you look like eating this. It might influence outcomes.

After lunch, I stop at a booth at the trade show and the two women running it offer me a sample of their protein bar. I look at the ingredients and say, “Sorry, I can’t eat sugar.” One turned and said to the other, “Well, of course you don’t. That’s why you look like THAT,” pointing a finger up and down the length of me.

This applies more and more as we age: that lifestyle shows up on us. Some  young people can eat crap and get away with it for a while. It will, however, catch up.

(Luckily, we can repent at any age. Our cells regenerate, heal, and aging reverses. Nobody would have said that to me 20 years ago when I was 200 lbs., eating lots of dairy and sugar and diet soda and Processed Whatever daily.)

romantic island coupleTurns out real men do eat salad. If I were going to sail off into the sunset with one of those three guys at my table, it wouldn’t have been with Pizza Guy or Burger Guy.

I’d choose to be marooned on an island with Salad and Fruit Bowl guy. Not just because I wouldn’t have to worry as much about a repeat of the Donner Party, with a guy who eats only plants.

Call me shallow, but he just looked handsome and youthful and positive and all good things.

Ben’s son goes psycho when he eats sugar

Recently my friend Ben was telling me a story about his younger son who has a completely insane reaction to sugar. Ben and his ex-wife are normally vigilant about keeping Alex and sugar faaaaarrr apart.

Ben said, “But it was spring break, and I was with my buddy, and I just thought, what the heck. And I let him have a soda, and then another one. And a dessert too.”

He then described how Alex was bouncing off the walls. I mean, he was LITERALLY bouncing around a restaurant. Boing! Boing! Boing!

Went over to a wall and leaped off his feet to bang on thirty posts in a row, one at a time. People staring, mouths hanging open.

After a while, he came over and put his head in Ben’s lap and went into some kind of half-asleep trance. Then he got up and acted completely mentally ill for a while—like a schizophrenic. Muttering to himself, ranting, lost in his own world, very possibly mildly psychotic. The whole episode lasted about two hours.

I laughed so hard at the story I almost fell out of my bed, talking to Ben on the phone. “I’ll bring Alex over sometime, and we’ll feed him sugar—you HAVE to see this!” Ben said.

“NO, we’re not going to make your son sick and psychotic for our entertainment!” I said, feeling pretty guilty about even laughing at the story like I did. (Because is it really that funny?)

“Seriously, though,” Ben tells me, “we should get a video and show it to your readers. NOBODY would feed their kid sugar if they could see this. It’s insane.”

Again, we can’t do that—I’m sure Ben’s ex-wife would LOVE that, exploiting her kid running in circles and then snoring in public, then being psychotic for an hour—to document the effect of sugar.

(I love how I’m always having to explain to my single guy friends, the perspective of the mom! FYI, I advocate for you everywhere, ex-wives. Well, and wives, for that matter!)

You have to understand that Alex is a completely normal, well behaved 9-year old usually.

And that’s just it. Alex has this behaviorally manifested reaction to sugar. But we all are building up insulin resistance. We all struggle metabolically if we eat sugar—with no energy for anything else except righting the tipped-over organism. Organs malfunctioning. Wires crossing.

We are ALL having a psychotic reaction at a cellular level. There is chaos in the body while many systems struggle valiantly to right themselves, when we drink a soda or eat dessert—or worse, BOTH.

Just because it’s not as visual, obvious, and amusing as Alex’s reaction, doesn’t mean WE are somehow having a more-sane reaction to pumping acid into our stomach. No one’s body recognizes soda as good food.

And we’re surprised when—like I told you a few months ago Matthew discovered—after his late-night, five-candy-bar binge after six months off sugar—we can’t lift our arms to dance, the next day at Zumba.

(My children’s teams want to feed the athletes, after a soccer match, exactly what Alex ate. Soda and dessert. Definition of INSANITY.)

By the way, back on the Sugar Bet for a few months now…..I am so much happier. Not disappointed with myself. Lost four pounds….took me weeks! Anxiety that always comes with eating sugar, gone. Skin back to normal.

It wasn’t even an issue in the all-you-can-eat, three-times-a-day resort we stayed at in Cancun over spring break. I didn’t even look at the dessert bar, ever. So nice to have the decision made, definitively, so there’s no agonizing, or self-loathing.

And my hard learning experience drove gratitude home for me—I don’t resent the sugar ban. After all, it’s self-imposed. For my own darn good. It’s a good thing.

If I ever forget, I’ll go watch Ben’s son Alex for a while.

Crazy week in New York City…..and, GSG is hiring

I’m just home from 5 days in New York City, one of my favorite places on the planet. It was 60 degrees the whole time, and we saw a bunch of fabulous shows, one being Brooke Shields in The Addams Family, but my favorite one was Hugh Jackman. I love to see people exactly my age, as both Brooke and Hugh are, who are at the top of their game instead of sliding off into inertia.

Did you know Hugh is not just Wolverine and one of the handsomest men on the planet–but he can sing like crazy, and dance his feet off? Wow. Two-hour one-man show and you’re on the edge of your seat the whole time.

Lately what I do when I travel is freeze a bunch of pint jars of green smoothies. Or carrot-apple-beet-celery-collard juice (made with my Norwalk juicer). I put them in my suitcase, well cushioned with Ziploc bags around them. Then I put them in the hotel mini-fridge and have some every morning.

Jamie wasn’t about to eat another raw restaurant (she hates them everywhere we go), so she brought stuff from Starbuck’s missed out on the best meal I have EVER had, bar none, at one of the best raw vegan restaurants on this planet: Sarma Melngailis’ Pure Food and Wine. Tell me you won’t miss it, if you go to New York!

But my biggest adventure in the Big Apple was on my Saturday morning 6-mile run along the Lower East Side. People who train at 4200 feet elevation like I do LOVE running at sea level—we can go forever. I was enjoying the waterfront in Battery Park, the nice weather, and the view of the Statue of Liberty, when I…..discovered a dead man in Hudson River 10 feet from me.

Just what everyone hopes to encounter on vacation! Ten minutes later, two FDNY boats, a helicopter, a fire truck, at least 100 cops and as many bystanders descended on the scene to watch the boats fish the body out.

Soooooo, that was weird. I haven’t seen any news report of it–must be just another day in the Big Apple. My main thought was: “WE’RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE, TOTO!” Meantime, back at GreenSmoothieGirl.com…..

….we need a new webmaster! Here’s the job description, so if you know anyone, have them write us an introductory email and send a resume to support123@greensmoothiegirl.com:

CONTRACT WEBMASTER NEEDED

Home-based contract webmaster needed to work remotely, with HTML programming and online shopping cart experience. Good communication and people skills important. Technical aptitude, reliability, and problem solving skills needed. Experience with graphic design, web design, shopping carts, are helpful. Magento programming not necessary but a plus (it’s in our future). Looking for a committed full-time contractor (although this is a part-time contract), rather than someone with a full-time job wanting to pick up extra work on the side. Compensation depending on experience.

Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy, Part 2

So I observe that even very overweight, ill people who overindulge, still pass up lots of junk food! You could have a year or two of depression where you ate everything in sight, and then, because it takes shockingly few calories to sustain fat cells, bam, you’re seriously overweight. And you could be more vigilant about your diet for years afterward, and remain obese. Losing weight is MUCH more difficult than maintaining a healthy weight is.

So it comes down to, are you willing to say no to MORE of it? 99% instead of 95%. That 4% is deadly. You know where that line is, between eating too much junk and eating just a reasonably sized treat now and then. You’ve been living in your body for a good while now so you know where that “fine line” is. (Lots of people haven’t discovered how much MORE food you can eat when you eat whole-food treats only!)

So what does this have to do with kids? Everything. THEY WILL GET THIS, the idea that their fuel impacts their life in absolutely every way. They need to understand it. We need to have lots of conversations with them about it. Taking different angles, not defaulting into mindless mantras.

Notice I said conversations. Not lectures. The difference being, we might ask a question, and then listen patiently, in between saying anything instructive. (In a minute, I’ll explain how you have to put 5 positives in the bank for every 1 instructional comment.)

What does your child think about things? One of my daughters gave me a huge compliment recently, saying (in so many words) that the reason she comes to me, rather than other people close to her, with a difficult or controversial subject, is that I listen and don’t judge her thinking and her developmental stage.

It’s not a problem to have high standards, or to talk to kids about choices, or to say NO to them. By not stocking the house with junk, by drawing a line at a party. (Even better, by modeling what WE do every day, which is pass up the vast majority of bad food in our path.)

Instead, it may be a matter of WHEN we talk about it.

Let me explain. When I was training to be a marriage therapist, I studied how one of the most well documented research findings is that stable marriages have 5 positives for every 1 negative. In other words, if you’re going to give your spouse (or child) some “tough love,” you darn well better have some currency in the bank. Your last five interactions should have been rife with love, praise, and tolerance. If you’ve done your time, you have credibility and influence.

I used to walk in my house and immediately take stock of the messes, the uncompleted chores, the people breaking well-documented rules. And I’d start verbally setting the place straight:

“Emma, why are these wet towels STILL on the kitchen floor? Pretty sure this is the fourth time I’ve asked you to take care of them! Kincade, did you pick the apples out of the tree? I don’t see them. Tennyson, turn the TV off and get out of the living room with the bowl of food, you know better!”

Sometimes just for good measure, I’d tie it all together and make myself seriously popular with a martyr trip. Something like, “When I leave, this place just goes to heck! Can’t you guys take a little pride in your own rabbit hole?”

A period of tension would follow. Usually the wet towels would still be on the floor and my oldest would be in his room instead of outside picking the apples. And we’d all be grumpy and avoiding each other.

Then I made a goal for myself: to not say ONE word of negative to anyone unless I’ve come in and first ENJOYED my children for five minutes. I’d ask them about their day, give them a hug, and listen to whatever they had to say. (I’m super lucky that way: all four of my kids talk to me a lot. But if your kid ISN’T a talker, all that much more important to not walk in barking orders, I’m thinking?)

An amazing thing happened. When I DID point out the wet towels or the bowl and spoon in the TV room, even just five minutes later, the kids were happy to get the job done or apologetic about breaking a rule.

So, it’s important to you to have your kids drink a glass of green juice every day. You are happy to make it if he’ll just drink it. After one of my Texas classes, a mom of adults told me she takes a green smoothie to her son when she wakes him up in the morning. He’s trapped there in bed, she said, and he’s happy he didn’t have to make it! LOL!

What if you were super careful about WHEN you talk to your child about good food choices? Do it only after giving him tons of love and attention about some things he’s doing well? Do it when you have lots of capital in his emotional bank account.

Don’t leave it at that. If your child’s nutrition isn’t what it should be, think what point you want to discuss next. But don’t just blurt it out, any old time.

Time it for a period you’ve got five positives on the balance sheet. And as I always say, make it relevant to your child’s interests. Will what you want her to do make her a better student, a better athlete? I’m not above pointing out how raw green food makes hair and skin prettier.

Parenting and Nutrition: I hate being the bad guy! Part 1 of 3

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: I get so sick of cajoling my kids to eat right. It’s exhausting! So a lot of the time, I just cave to the pressure and let them eat crap. What do I do?

Answer: This is a big topic. I write on it a LOT, you know if you’ve been here for a while. But I’ll share some new thoughts today.

I was doing some research recently and read an interview Kevin Gianni did with Mike Adams where Mike said something like, “I get so sick of hearing people tell me that this or that good food doesn’t taste good. I wish people would just get over the idea that EVERYTHING has to taste good.”

I laughed out loud reading it. Amen, my brotha.

Sometimes I’ll tell someone griping to me about that, “Yeah? Well guess what. Don’t be shocked, but I don’t even really like green smoothies.”

It’s true. I don’t much like drinking stuff, except water. I have never bought a Jamba Juice smoothie, even before I was mega-healthy. It’s just not that appealing to me. I prefer things you eat with spoons or forks.

That’s not why I drink green smoothies. I drink them because they’re fast, easy, portable and super powerful in my energy-maximizing nutritional strategy.

I think the 80/20 rule applies. I eat about 80 percent foods that are outrageously good for me, whether I like them or not, and 20 percent foods I really love. (Like guacamole or raw olives. Anything made with coconut, or chocolate. Or sprouted-grain English muffins with butter.) Note that most of the foods I love are a 6 to 8 on a 1-10 scale (1 being pork rinds, 10 being the juiced collards and carrots I made with my new Norwalk Juicer this week). None are a 1 – 4 on the scale. But my favorites are higher calorie and not superfoods like a green smoothie is.

Caveat: if your “foods I love” list is pure Cheetos and Snickers and Diet Pepsi, 20 percent is waaaaay too much. You’ve not yet learned to replace that list with things that are both yummy and pretty darn good for you.

Helping your kids find a list of things they like, that also happen to be nutritious, is IMO one of the best things you can do for them as a parent!

I don’t have a standard that everything I put in my mouth has to taste good. Matter of fact, I often get MORE pleasure out of the sense of accomplishment (“I am so proud of myself for drinking that glass of collard juice and handful of sprouted almonds!”) than I get from the taste and texture of ice cream in my mouth.

Think about that, because human beings are in hot pursuit of pleasure. I value accomplishment, and building healthy cells and tissues, more than I value instant gratification. (Mostly. I do occasionally screw up a little.)

Do you? Your kids are noticing. I promise.

Also, they actually WANT you to talk to them, and set the example—regardless of the mixed messages (with the eye rolling and the “ya ya, I know Mom” stuff).

If you don’t talk to them and show them?

Well, you know all that talk about heredity being the primary factor in health, in obesity, and in cancer risk? People believe that. But it isn’t really true. More and more studies are showing, when researchers bother to isolate factors, that it’s not your genes that lead to three generations in a row getting cancer, as once thought—it’s the fact that, for the most part, we eat what our parents ate.

Some things we do simply because they’re good for us. I was telling this to Kristin in an airport last week. I said, “How many things did you just walk past on the way to our gate, that you LIKE eating, but you didn’t stop and buy?”

She said, “Hundreds.”

So, I continued, “Everyone says yes to a few things, and no to MANY things. Everyone. Even the folks we all look at and think, ‘Wow, you’ve really let it go, pal.’ If you say no to 99% of the bad-for-you foods in your path, you could be super healthy and fit. If you say no to only 95%, you could be obese, miserable, nearly immobilized.”

I’ll explain where I’m going with this tomorrow……

 

 

“After I eat chocolate cake, I want to die”

I got this email from my friend Matthew:

He had just read this quote: “When I eat chocolate cake, 20 minutes later I’m under my desk wanting to die, When I eat broccoli, in 20 minutes I feel good. But given the choice I always eat the cake.”

Matthew asks: “Why do people choose the chocolate cake?

“Have I ever talked to you about how Tony Robbins talked about training himself to push his plate away when he was full? He grew up in a home with the ‘doctrine of the clean plate’ (or something like that) and had to retrain himself. The psychology of how to train yourself about what is okay and what is not okay is fascinating to me. (I have taught my kids to waste food anytime they want for example, and that was SO WRONG in the tribe I grew up in.)

“I wonder if you wrote some blogs about how to train yourself and condition yourself to have feelings and opinions about healthy eating that are more useful. How about Affirmations for Health by YOU?”

I told Matthew that I was raised with the same rule: you must finish everything on your plate. I’m developing a meditation to go to the very root of why we sabotage ourselves nutritionally, and correct those subconscious beliefs. (I wrote about this in a blog series months ago called, “I love my body. It serves me well!”)

What are your beliefs about yourself and food, that cause you to make poor choices over and over? What are the words you say in your head? Could you write them on a 3×5 card and think about whether they are useful or harmful?

What if you could write NEW beliefs and statements that you could replace those with, which are more useful? It would work only if you repeated those beliefs over and over.

Do you “make” your kids finish their dinner? At my house, you don’t have to finish anything—except your green smoothie, fruits/vegs, or salad. You can skip the rest of the dinner.

Parents, or anyone with opinions, what do you think? I know it’s no longer popular at all to ‘make’ kids do ANYTHING. But I ‘make’ myself eat 60-80% raw greens/vegs/fruit before I consider eating anything else—so it isn’t as if I’m requiring anything of my kids I’m not doing myself. I have done this for so long that I don’t even think about it. It’s not deprivation or neurotic; it’s just habitual.

I have some rules for eating. All of them are based on common sense. All were developed by learning that I don’t feel good if I ever break them. I’ve never written them down until now; they’ve just been in my head. Here are my 13 rules:

1. Don’t eat after 7 p.m. except on a very rare occasion.

2. Always drink a pint of water as soon as I wake up.

3. Never eat sugar on an empty stomach–always with lots of raw food and some good plant protein (like almonds, greens, or beans).

4. If I eat any concentrated sugar (besides fruit), it’s only once in a day.

5. Never eat processed meat.

6. After working out, drink only water for a while.

7. Every meal or snack is 60% or more raw plant food (often 80-100%).

8. Don’t drink soda.

9. Don’t buy anything from fast-food restaurants.

10. Don’t eat anything with MSG in it.

11. Don’t add salt to food.

12. If a meal is below 80% raw plant food, take digestive enzymes.

13. If I eat too heavily for a weekend or more, I take a few days to detox. I might eat all raw food, two quarts of green smoothie instead of one, wheat grass juice, extra water–or even a couple of days of nothing but Meal Replacement.

What do you eat in a day?

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: What do you eat in a day? Please tell me in detail.

Answer: We get this question constantly, and actually, I’ve written on that topic four times. For your convenience, here they are:

http://greensmoothiegirl.com/2008/10/07/more-food-logs-a-really-busy-day-and-a-weekend-day/

http://greensmoothiegirl.com/2008/09/19/another-daily-food-log-from-a-plant-eater/

http://greensmoothiegirl.com/2008/09/15/what-did-you-make-when-did-you-eat-it-and-where/

http://greensmoothiegirl.com/2008/02/17/a-day-in-the-life/